From the survey:
According to a new national survey, only 35 percent of Americans can name even one member of the nation's highest court.I have to say I am pretty impressed that even one percent can name all nine justices though. I could only name five. With all the hoopla regarding Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation I'm surprised more people couldn't remember her.
Clarence Thomas is the most well known justice but could be named by only 19 percent of Americans. Chief Justice John Roberts was named by 16 percent of people. Sonia Sotomayor, the newest justice, could be named by only 15 percent of Americans following a highly visible nomination and confirmation process last year.
According to the FindLaw.com survey, the percentages of Americans who can name any U.S. Supreme Court justices are:
Clarence Thomas – 19%
John Roberts – 16%
Sonia Sotomayor – 15%
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – 13%
Antonin Scalia – 10%
Samuel Alito – 8%
John Paul Stevens – 8%
Anthony Kennedy – 6%
Stephen Breyer – 3%
Only 1 percent of Americans could correctly name all nine current members of the Supreme Court.
In addition, many Americans think that retired justices Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter are still active members of the Supreme Court. O'Connor and Souter retired from the Court in 2006 and 2009, respectively.
US Supreme Court, originally uploaded by Mark Fischer.
Luckily, it's not as bad as it seems:
"This result is not especially surprising nor, by itself, should it be alarming," said Michael C. Dorf, a former Supreme Court clerk who currently teaches constitutional law at Cornell University Law School and authors a legal column for FindLaw. "Even though Supreme Court rulings can have a major impact on contentious issues such as the death penalty, abortion rights, discrimination and environmental protection, the Court issues its rulings as a collective body. After their 15 minutes before the Senate Judiciary Committee are up, Supreme Court justices rarely appear on television. What is a source for concern are polls consistently showing that many Americans are unfamiliar with basic features of our constitutional system."Is anyone surprised by these findings though? I know I'm not.